Amelia Morán Ceja
— Growing our grapes and producing our wines sustainably to protect the workers and the environment are a part of Ceja Vineyards' DNA.
My father Felipe Morán was a vineyard foreman at Oakville Vineyard Management Company, and I started picking grapes there the week I arrived from Mexico in September 1967.
I’ve been in the Napa Valley for 51 years, and I have worked in the wine industry since my arrival from Mexico in 1967.
There are many vintners, but one I have deep respect for is Robert Mondavi. He had a clear vision of Napa Valley’s position in the wine world, and he was a marketing genius as well as generous. I’m fortunate to have met him soon after I arrived in Napa Valley.
My maternal grandmother Mamá Chepa for her unconditional love and leadership role in our community. Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez for their commitment to defend the human rights of farmworkers (I met both in the early 1970s when they would stay at my parents’ home while organizing farmworkers in Napa Valley). Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera together, they were two of the most important artists of the 20th Century.
The NVV’s motto “cultivating excellence” is also part of Ceja Vineyards’ DNA. Growing our grapes and producing our wines sustainably to protect the workers and the environment.
The most rewarding aspects of my work are many, but a few of my favorites are introducing new consumers to our wines and telling them our story from vineyard workers to vintners. Also, I love using our brand to raise much-needed funds for nonprofits in our community and to bring awareness to the contributions of Mexican-American workers to our wine industry.
We focus on the role of immigrants in the wine industry’s development from the 1850s to now, the diversity of soils present, the topography, the microclimates of our valley and our willingness for innovation.
It’s hard to imagine doing anything else outside of the wine industry. I love to cook and to improvise recipes, and most likely, I would be writing about food.
What makes Napa Valley unique compared to other wine growing regions are two things: Its perfect winegrowing equation -- all the variables are consistently present every vintage and unified leadership.